Crosland Comes Through with Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Finale Pole TOOELE, Utah, 12 September - He's been knocking on the door for sometime, and finally Ben Crosland, a high school senior from Salt Lake City, has come through with his...
Crosland Comes Through with Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Finale Pole
TOOELE, Utah, 12 September - He's been knocking on the door for sometime, and finally Ben Crosland, a high school senior from Salt Lake City, has come through with his first Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Pole.
In the first race of the weekend at Miller Motorsports Park, Crosland had initially been set to start on the outside of the front row. But, a post-qualifying inspection revealed that his No. 25 F/X Interchange RP Motorsports Mustang FR500S was underweight by one pound. Relegated to the start at the back of the field, he went on a tear and finished second overall. If he runs a similar pace today from the pole, the closest any could get may be on the starting grid.
His best lap was his second flyer, which stopped the clocks in 2:07.929 seconds for an average speed of 126.239 mph. The time was 0.399 seconds to the good of the von Kluge's best attempt.
"I missed a shift on the my first flying lap, so I backed off and went for it on the next lap, which was my best. My third lap, was three-tenths off, so I decided to park it and save the tires for the race," recounts Crosland. "The car feels great, and I think I'm just getting better and better at this track. I'm really looking forward to the race, and while a podium is still my goal, a win would be really nice."
Meanwhile, all eyes were on the two title contenders, Jason von Kluge and Tony Buffomante. Following his win from the pole yesterday, von Kluge's advantage over Buffomante stretched to nine points. With his best lap today good enough to secure the outside front row, one place ahead of Buffomante who will start from the third spot on the grid, von Kluge's advantage now grows to 10 points.
"I threw away a lot of laps. Once you make a mistake, there's no point in maintaining the effort, so I would plod along and try again. Even my best lap wasn't perfect, but I'm ahead of Tony (Buffomante), and have another point in my favor, so I'm happy," said von Kluge, driver of the No. 19 Varsity Ford JVK Motorsports Mustang. "I'll probably be happy to let Ben (Crosland) go in the race and just try to maintain my position ahead of Tony, but we'll have to see how it goes."
Both drivers ran an unusual amount of laps. While the norm all season long has been a max of three timed laps, both title contenders more than doubled that tally in qualifying for today's race. Buffomante registered eight timed laps while von Kluge racked up seven. In the end, von Kluge went four-tenths of a second quicker than Buffomante to record the second best time of 2:08.328 seconds. Buffomante's best lap was a 2:08.743 second effort.
"I tried everything from different driving styles to different tire pressures, and no matter what I do, I can't keep up with these guys (Crosland and von Kluge)," said a frustrated Buffomante, driver of the No. 34 Capaldi Racing Mustang. "Obviously this isn't a good weekend to be having these problems, but we can't give up. We need something magical."
Completing the front three rows are Kyle Gimple on the outside of row two. Mustang Challenge Shootout winner Dean Thomas continues to impress and improve. He starts his second pro race from the inside of row three, which he shares with Pratt Cole, who lines up on the outside.
Mike McGovern, Dan Aweida, Michael Zuieback and Brad Adams complete the top 10.
The Ford Racing Mustang Challenge grand finale takes place this afternoon at 1:00 PM Mountain time. Follow it live on mustangchallenge.com.